I recently had a fun virtual meeting, by conference call and downloads, with Animators at Law, who produce 2D and 3D trial graphics, and in particular with Christine McCarey, a former in-house counsel and now the company’s national director of business development. I have been at this long enough to remember when trial graphics were big glorified poster boards or, worse yet, were projected by what appeared to be simply updated versions of the overhead projectors that jurors, typically recoiling in fright, remembered with horror from junior high school.

Well, that was then and this is now. Christine, tracking my professional interests, showed off some great pieces of work from a range of intellectual property and insurance coverage cases that were both imaginative and informative; in this visual age, they are the kind of things that a jury will actually note and remember. I particularly liked two examples, the first a graphic from a trade dress infringement trial that showed the defendant’s product literally morphing over time from its original design into a design that perfectly mimicked the plaintiff’s product (for those of you who don’t do this kind of work and wouldn’t know trade dress infringement from a cocktail dress, that kind of a match puts the defendant in the position of having to rely on technical legal defenses, while letting the plaintiff reinforce in the jury’s mind that, hey, the competing products look too much the same for this to be legal).

The second example that I really liked was a series of exhibits from an environmental insurance coverage case. What I liked best about them was that they took what is in essence a dry textual issue – what does insurance contract language mean and how does it apply to these facts – and transformed it into something visual and catchy. That’s no mean feet, and it’s a long way from those bar graphs showing layers of excess policies that passed for exhibits in insurance coverage cases lo these many years ago.

Fun stuff, and if you have an interest in state of the art trial graphics, you could certainly do worse than talk with Christine.